There are moments on Paperwork where rapper T.I. sounds as vital, bright, infectious, and tuneful as Nas in his prime, but don’t get it twisted, as this vibrant effort is often so pop that it is more like an Illmatic aimed at taking on the chart dominance of Iggy Azalea and not the gang violence […]

Though French-Chilean Rapper Ana Tijoux has been making music since the late 1990s, she is best known for 2010’s 1977 and 2012’s La Bala. Vengo is her third release for Nacional. Neither as melancholy as 1977 nor as outwardly angry as La Bala, it is far more ambitious musically and lyrically. Over 17 gorgeously constructed […]

FKA Twigs’ early EPs were such jewel-like statements of purpose, delivering songs full of sensuality and heartache so economically, that an album almost seemed superfluous. None of these songs appear on the simply titled LP 1, a bold move that extends to the rest of the album. Tahliah Barnett opens up her sound by working […]

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re talking about best-of-2014 season. In time-honoured tradition, here’s the Avoiding Silence list of the best new albums from this year. It runs through numerous different genres, but all these albums have one thing in common: they prove that the album format is retaining its position as […]

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Sky Between Leaves started as the late-night bedroom reveries of singer-songwriter Tito Cordeiro, which hastily evolved into a three-piece band, featuring drummer Juliana Favero and bassist Brenno Balbino. The band’s name was taken from Jarvis Cocker’s story of the first time he wore glasses, realizing that the holes in the trees were in fact the […]

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With a delivery that sounds like 2Pac pitched down a notch, and a technical, streetwise proficiency that’s Scarface-styled and just as solid, Gary, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs is a rare find, but his odd come-up is arguably even more interesting. Promoted by websites with more of an indie spin and hanging with more left-field folk […]

On the title cut of Small Town Heroes, Alynda Lee Segarra, the mastermind (and sometimes sole member) behind ramshackle New Orleans-based folk ensemble Hurray for the Riff Raff, wrestles with the fallout of a relationship gone sour over a single finger-picked guitar paired with the slow, distant freight train hum of a Hammond B-3, and […]

There isn’t a more fickle genre out there than the variety known awkwardly as electronic/dance. That’s largely due to the pressure embraced by many producers to take full advantage of a wellspring without equal in other forms of music — the digital audio workstation. But every so often, an auteur emerges from the scrum of […]

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Coming out of Chattanooga, Tennessee with a style much wiser than his 22 years would suggest, rapper Isaiah Rashad makes his official debut with Cilvia: Demo, a strange and wonderful EP with some minor reservations. Here, Rashad combines the eye-level view lyrics of Kendrick Lamar with challenging music that takes cloud-rap to another, more abstract […]

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Vessels hail from Leeds, West Yorkshire, and formed from the ashes of A Day Left in September in 2006. They have two John Congleton (The Mountain Goats, Okkervil River and St. Vincent) produced albums to the credit and have been labelled as one of the hottest bands in the country by Radio 1. The culmination […]

I Just Can’t Stop It was a late arrival onto the checker- boarded scene, the Specials, Madness and the Selecter had all beat the (English) Beat to the punch, but luckily this wasn’t a race. Besides, the band had already primed the pump with a trio of Top 10 singles — the double A-sided “Tears […]

Since New West released Photographs in 2011, Robert Ellis’ reputation has spread internationally. These days he plays European festivals as well as Texas honky tonks. He moved to Nashville from Houston in 2012. Given the growth in his songwriting on The Lights from the Chemical Plant, it was the right choice. The album is exquisitely […]

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Destined to be Sheffield’s next great band, High Hazels are James Leesley (vocals/guitar), Scott Howes (guitar), Paul Barlow (bass guitar) and Anthony Barlow (drums). The release of their self-titled debut album on October 27th on Heist or Hit Records saw the band of brothers and childhood friends join the steel city’s lineage of renowned songwriters. To […]

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